In days gone by the classic challenge for parents was the often impossible task of dragging their children away from the TV. Today, this challenge has become a whole lot more complex. Not only are children indulging in record breaking screen time (topping the charts with pre-school children now spending more than four hours a day [Ofcom 2016]), but they’re also spending this time on multiple devices – watching the telly, whilst on a tablet, laptop or smartphone.
We don’t mean to be controversial... but does this really, truly have to be bad? Given that tech is more advanced than ever, with ever more innovative websites, apps and online portals featuring engaging, interactive educational content, why can’t we view tech-engaged kids as a positive thing? Let’s debate...
That screen time figure for pre-school children sounds pretty scary – and these figures are even more intimidating for older children. The same study has found that children aged five to sixteen are spending an average of 6.5 hours each and every day on their screens – which compares to just three hours back in 1995.
Whilst parents must take a realistic approach when it comes to the potential harm out there in the online sphere (amongst which threats lie cyber bullying, pornography and online predators) through a robust approach to children’s safety when online, the steps to transforming screen time from a negative, to a positive, are really incredibly simple.
1. Engage with your children and their tech – together
You know what they say – if you can’t beat them, join them. So forget about family time filled with charades (rudely interrupted by numerous pings and tech notifications). Revolutionise family time with tech – read this blog that runs you through the 70 Best Apps for Families.
2. Discover study tools that are at the cutting-edge
‘Online study tools’... sound pretty dull, right? But today’s online learning possibilities are not what they once were. Discover all that’s out there by exploring the Educational App Store for primary school children, and for older students, take a read of Noodle’s blog article - The 32 Most Innovative Online Educational Tools.
3. Explore how classrooms can become interactive
If you’re a teacher, the possibilities of tech and lessons that only ever become more interactive are endless – and there may be no better a place to start than with the font of all knowledge – TEDEd. Check out their countdown of 25 awesome apps for teachers, recommended by teachers.
School management systems are no longer the dull, admin only platforms of previous years. Today they connect schools with homes, and parents with teachers – for revolutionised learning beyond the classroom. They foster not only school collaboration, but also open up communication between schools and parents.
We’re positive about technology and children simply because we see, every day, the results that it achieves when used in the right way.